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We are pleased to announce that we are running our Costume Breakdown course, The Art of Destruction, on Saturday July 15th and Sunday July 16th.  

This intensive 2-day workshop on Costume Breakdown will cover basic breakdown techniques and natural aging, as well as more extreme forms of breakdown such as painting, blood and special effects.

The workshop will be a mixture of lecture, demonstration and hands-on learning. Participants will learn the most effective approach to achieve desired results to work in film and television.

The following topics will be explored during this workshop:

- Defining Costume Breakdown
- Health & Safety

On Set techniques vs. In Shop techniques for each subject:
- Teching, dulling, greeking
- Natural aging, sanding, washing, bagging out, grunge
- Dirt, blood, effects

Included in the workshop fee is a sample breakdown kit that each participant will receive and use throughout the workshop. At the end, participants will be able to take these kits home with them.

Tickets are available for members and non-members, to find out more and purchase CLICK HERE.

Email any questions to

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CAFTCADEMY 101 Instructors

Saturday February 4th

Intro to Costuming 10 am

Instructor: Alex Kavanagh

Alex Kavanagh designs costumes for film and television in Toronto. She is a graduate of the Dalhousie Costume Studies program. Her credits include The Vow (Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum), the dance film Make Your Move 3D (Derek Hough and BoA) as well as the cult classic Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. 

Known for her work in the horror genre, Alex designed the costumes for the very successful Saw franchise, George A. Romero’s Land of the DeadDiary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead, as well as Ginger Snaps II, and III. She also designed the costumes for Vincenzo Natail’s Splice, and Darren L. Bousman’s rock opera Repo! The Genetic Opera

Ms. Kavanagh is one of the Founding Members of CAFTCAD serving on the first board, sitting on many committees, co-chairing for MWS, the annual Film Festival Event as well as instructing several CAFTCADEMY seminars. Alex is currently a Member of IATSE 873.  

Recently, Alex was costume supervisor on Suicide Squad and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Alex strongly believes that the standards of the Costume Department will only improve through education, cooperation, and communication, which is exactly why CAFTCAD exists!

 The Prep Side of Costume 11 am

Instructor: Kim Harkness

Kim Harkness has held many positions within the costume department - from truck, set supervisor, extras coordinator, supervisor, budget tracker, assistant costume designer and costume designer for both feature length projects and television series. She has costume designed for the stage and worked as a personal style consultant. Kim also writes, edits and coaches inspired writers and always has multiple projects on the go. She loves teaching, streamlined chic and working on projects that demand expanding the realm of the role of costumes in productions.

The Set Side of Costume - Set & Truck Supervisor 1 pm

Instructor: Leslie Kavanagh 

Leslie Kavanagh has been working in film and television for almost 20 years. Known mostly for her extensive experience as a Set Supervisor (Saw franchise, The Vow, Resident Evil 5), Leslie’s expertise in working with stunts and special effects were sought out by many big features for the second unit Set Supervisor (Total Recall, Robocop, Kick-Ass). She continued to use her unique skill set in that area as the Costume Supervisor on blockbusters such as Suicide Squad and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.

She has been buying (No Stranger the Love, Make Your Move 3D), and assistant costume designing (Issues, The Escape, How to Build a Better Boy). Leslie has helmed several productions as Costume Designer (Man Seeking Woman, Mother’s Day, The Baby Formula, 5 episodes of Reign), and won a Best Costume award for her period costumes in the short film Rosie Takes The Train. Leslie recently finished shooting season 3 of Man Seeking Woman. She is happy to share some of her on set secrets for the CAFTCADEMY 101 lecture on Set and Truck.

Being a Daily/ Set Etiquette 2:30 pm

Instructor: Daina Valiulis 

Daina Valiulis is a 12 year design veteran of the indie theatre and film worlds. She has been a producer, production designer, and costume designer in both, is a founding member of Shakespeare at Play (, was the in-house designer for Solar Stage Children’s Theatre from 2012-2016, and is a talented artist across different media (painting, drawing and illustration). 

Daina is beginning her career in IATSE and has worked as a daily on xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Miss Sloane, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Taken, and Suits. She was the Background Coordinator on Issues (Pilot) and most recently the Assistant Costume Designer on Man Seeking Woman, Season 3. Daina is currently the Costume Designer for Hart House’s 7 Stories, and is an Executive Board Member of CAFTCAD.

The Workroom 3:30 pm

Instructors: Michel Proulx and Urs Dierker 

Michel Proulx graduated in 1981 from a 3-year Haute Couture program in Quebec, working full-time since then as a cutter for 33 years in the entertainment industry. He debuted with theatre seasons at Banff, Stratford, London, Edmonton, Ottawa. He moved to Montreal and worked on a variety of projects including being part of the start of Cirque du Soleil for 4 years. Michel has worked on major TV shows for Radio-Canada as well as various theatre productions, ballets and operas. He was the owner of a costume shop called “Costume Plus,” where he had up to 10 employees. He was wardrobe supervisor and cutter for Théâtre du Nouveau Monde for 5 years with 5 productions each year. In addition, he taught at the National Art School for 3 years.

 Michel worked on projects and films such as: Romeo and Juliet (Baz Luhrmann) filmed in Mexico; The Red Violin, which took Michel to London, Rome, Venice, and Shanghai; Mini TV Series, Joan of Arc, filmed in Prague; The Aviator; Mirror Mirror; Céline Dion show ” A New World” in Las Vegas; The Wizard of Oz in Toronto; Season 2 of Copper TV Series; Season 1 & 2 of Reign TV Series, and many other projects and films.

Urs Dierker is textile artist in film and TV productions and an MA student in Interdisciplinary Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. He is researching and writing about aged and distressed costumes in North American action, horror, and sci-fi films.  Urs has a post-graduate diploma in fine arts from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, and a BA in Photography from the University of Applied Sciences, Bielefeld, Germany. Urs is also a men’s tailor educated at the German State Opera Berlin.

Urs has worked in costume departments of film productions since 2007 on projects including Anonymous (2011), Pacific Rim (2013), The Hunger Games (2015), and Suicide Squad (2016). He has also written for magazines about film costumes. 

 IATSE 873 Permit Requirements 5 pm

Instructor: Luis Sequeira

Founding member and CAFTCAD’s 1st President (2008 – 2013) marks his 30th year in the industry. Having training in pattern making in fashion, Luis starting as a trainee and working just about every position within the Costume department on both TV and feature film productions learning every aspect of the craft. Luis has a strong and well grounded understanding of costume for film and television. 

Since 1992 Luis’ highlighted design credits include such hit series as CBC’s Being Erica and The Strain. His film credits include: Charlie Bartlett, The Thing, Mama, Carrie and most recently Guillermo Del Toro’s period fantasy, The Shape of Water. A member of IATSE 873 since 2000, Luis has also served on the wardrobe committee for over 10 of those years. 

Sunday February 5th 

NABET 700 UNIFOR Permit Requirements 9:30 am

Instructor: Joanna Syrokomla

Joanna is honoured to have Costume Designed a variation of projects including South African/Canadian co-pro Love Jacked, Backstage I & 2 for Disney, Hallmark’s Flowershop Mysteries with Brooke Sheilds, Love is Dead NBC Pilot, Space/Syfy’s Bitten, The L.A. Complex Season II for CTV & The CW, Whizbang’s The Yard for HBO, Disney’s My Babysitter’s a Vampire Season II, Todd and the Pure Book of Evil Pilot, Pure Pwnage for Showcase, and Ving Rhames in the Sonny Liston bio pic Phantom Punch.

As a founding member of CAFTCAD, and coordinator of CAFTCADEMY 101, Joanna is thrilled to participate in creating opportunities that she herself never had starting out almost 20 years ago.

Costume Buyer 10 am

Instructor: Joanna Syrokomla 

Background Coordinator 11 am

Instructor Ian Drummond 

Ian Drummond has been active in the Toronto film industry since the early 1990s, and has been a member of IATSE 873 since 1997. 

Ian worked as the Extras Coordinator on Hairspray (2007) and on Cinderella Man, responsible for the costuming of 3000+ background performers in each film.  Ian was the Wardrobe Buyer on Chicago (an Oscar winner for costume design). Prior to 2007 Ian held the position of Assistant Costume Designer for multiple feature film, mini-series and M.O.W. productions.

Ian Drummond is the owner and proprietor of Ian Drummond Collection, where he’s amassed 20th Century clothing, footwear, accessories, accoutrements, textiles and ephemera over the past 25 years. The collection has a strong focus on the 1920s – 1990s, and comprises everything from elegant dress to character clothing. The collection is available to industry members and the trade for rental to film, television, theatre productions and print publications during studio hours, or by appointment.

Assistant Designer & Costume Supervisor 1 pm

Instructor: Anna Dal Farra & Sheila Pruden 

Anna Dal Farra started her education in Fashion and Costume as soon as she was able to use a needle and thread at the age of six. Anna’s mother Rina trained in Milan and Merano (Italy) as a Tailor and Dressmaker, she has passed her extensive knowledge along. The family tradition of Textile Arts goes back several generations in Anna’s family which continues to be carried forward. Anna’s education in Theatre and Film Studies began at the Wexford Collegiate Institute School For The Arts, continued at Sheridan College majoring in 16mm Film Production, and York University, where she one day hopes to complete her Degree in Film History and Theory. Her formal Fashion Education was at Shaw College. 

Anna is perhaps one of the few Costumers whose early career in Film Production includes working as a Camera Assistant on Documentaries. Her tandem education and her experience working in Theatre, Ballet, Film and Photography gives her a unique perspective, and understanding of what is required to achieve successful costumes; an understanding in both the visual and technical aspects of what it takes to make costumes and characters come to life. 

Sheila Pruden has been working in costuming for more than forty years now. At first working in theatre, then designing for Cabaret Performers, Drag Queens, Drag Kings and Strippers and for the last thirty-two years working in Toronto’s Film and Television industry. Sheila has just wrapped her 50th film or television project, as Costume Supervisor on Wish Upon.

When not working on a film project Sheila can be found teaching for IATSE 873, working on Education for the ICAP (IATSE Craft Advancement Program) or coaching her son in Grade 3 Math. 

Costume Designer 2 pm

Instructor: Catherine Ashton

Costume Designer Catherine Ashton began her career as a Stylist/Image Consultant for various Artists for CBS Records.  In the early 80′s her work was seen on many Canadian and American Music Videos.  In 1987, she and the local fashion community successfully executed the first Fashion Cares Event in Toronto. Catherine entered the film business at the bottom, building a name for herself by working her way up the wardrobe ranks until she was at the helm of the Costume Department. Whether it is for Meg Ryan, Hilary Duff or Kevin Spacey, Ashton’s incredible eye for fashion and character driven designs are greeted with delight. Working closely with the director’s vision she helps actors formulate and discover the characters they are about to embody. This close collaboration enables the cast to slip into their characters with ease.   

As Costume Designer, Catherine’s work can be seen on various TV Series:  Beauty and The Beast, Covert Affairs, Conviction, and Against The Wall are just some of the TV Series she has designed. 

Commercial & Print Stylist 3 pm

Instructor: Michelle Lyte

Hailing from an ancestral lineage of self-taught cutters, Michelle had her very own mentor and teacher in her aunt Joan, a graduate of London College of Fashion. At age 9, Michelle began constructing garments for herself and friends. After meeting a couple of music video directors, Michelle then launched her career as a fashion stylist. As a stylist, she graced many aspects of the industry, on camera style expert, a spokesperson, features in editorials, advertising and music videos. Her expertise lead her to work with celebrity clients such as Deborah Cox, Jordan Knight, Sean Paul and world renowned fashion director Jay Manuel and included projects such as Canada’s Next Top Model Cycle III, MTV’s The Hills after show and became the in-house stylist for all other MTV Canada Projects.

Her indoctrination as a Costume Designer came when she was asked to design MTV US web series Valemont. Her perseverance and longevity throughout the years are evident with the projects she’s been involved with; Suicide Squad, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, Best Man Holiday and Suits just to name a few.

All the while Michelle creating her own Line “Myrtle and Oswald” a line of Mongolian Fur coats and vests.

Being an image innovator is what Michelle was born to be. Whether real or reel, moving or still; she brings an unorthodox approach to every project she set her sights on. 

101 schedule Feb 17 V7




CAFTCADEMY is an ongoing initiative of professional seminars for established professionals, students and anyone interested in working in the industry. This is an expanding series of informative discussions and tutorials developed by CAFTCAD in order to provide a supportive tool in the development and education of the costume craft in the industry.

Please join for updates on more new courses.


Script Breakdown for Costumers

This 3 hour seminar will walk the participants through how to manually break down a script to calculate script days, assess costume requirements, plot out costume changes, and create a budget. All supplies are provided. All members of the costume department benefit from knowing how to breakdown a script, and it is a required skill for trade tests.

When & Where:
Sunday March 6th 2016 at Pinewood Toronto Studios
225 Commissioners St. Suite 3B
11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Course instructor: Alex Kavanagh
Alex is one of CAFTCAD’s founding members. She is a successful Costume Designer, Costume Supervisor, and Breakdown Artist. Alex keyed over 50 productions and is happy to share her experience.

CAFTCAD Members: $33.90 (HST included)
Non-Members $56.50 (HST included)


SyncOnSet is a software program and app designed for TV and Film productions. With SyncOnSet, your production team can digitally manage continuity, photos, and inventory. Features include: an automatic script breakdown, continuity photo albums, production dashboard, inventory management, and now money tracking. The SyncOnSet program is increasingly becoming industry standard for costume professionals. Participants will be given an in-depth lesson and demonstration of SyncOnSet. The instructor will demonstrate creating sample productions and breakdowns for feature films and episodic productions. After the demonstration, participants will be given the opportunity to register for a free trial to practice using SyncOnSet through a guided workshop. All attendees must bring a laptop computer. A smartphone (iOs or Android) is optional.

When & Where:
Sunday March 6th 2016 at Pinewood Toronto Studios
225 Commissioners St. Suite 3B
3:00pm – 6:00pm

Course Instructor: Will Hughes Will works at SyncOnSet and has been teaching training sessions across North America.

CAFTCAD Members Free for members in good standing (registration required to secure seat)
Non-Members $28.25 (HST included)

Limited seating, only 20 spots available! Please register by sending your name, address, phone number and e-transfer funds to

Costume 101 for Film and Television

Saturday 7th February and Sunday 8th February 2015

Intro to Film – Alex Kavanagh (The Vow, Saw II, Miss Universe Canada)
Prep Side of Costume – Kimberly Harkness (Suits, The Mortal Instruments)
Set/Truck – Leslie Kavanagh (Reign, Robocop, Mother’s Day)
Shopper/ Buyer – Sarah Armstrong (The Colony, Bitten, Pontypool)
The Workroom – Michel Proulx (Reign, The Fountain)
- Bonnie McCabe (Defiance, Copper)
Nabet Permit Info – Joanna Syrokomla (Bitten, Hank & Mike)
Set Etiquette – Elizabeth Walter Gregg (Owning Mahoney)
Background Coordinator -Madeleine Stewart (Pompeii, Resident Evil: Retribution)
Assistant Designer/Supervisor – Anna Dal Farra (Lost Girl, Hedwig & the Angry Inch)
Costume Designer – Anne Dixon (Working the Engels, Lost Girl)
Stylist – Michelle Lyte (Aaliya, Canada’s Next Top Model)

CAFTCADEMY_101_Madelaine_StewartCAFTCAD is pleased to announce this amazing opportunity for aspiring costumers to learn about the workings, jobs available, paperwork and gain some networking experience at our Costume 101 for Film & Television Seminar Weekend. Well known industry professionals spoke on being a costume designer, buyer, print stylist, working in the workroom as a dyer or cutter and how to manage the costumes once they get to set in this very informative weekend.

Many students of this course have found jobs in the industry and are building their careers with the valuable information and connections they made during this seminar.


Please email us at if you have any further questions about this CAFTCADEMY 101.

Illustration and Photoshop for Costumers

“For Costume Designers today, there is so much pressure on presentations. I have often felt at a loss to incorporate digital elements into my sketches. The CAFTCAD photoshop course is perfectly tailored to costumers, from taking good fitting photos, importing sketches and fabric swatches, to adding actors faces, backgrounds, and shading into sketches, this workshop is the perfect hands on introduction to using photoshop. I went in not knowing anything about Photoshop, and I left feeling confident on how to use the program. I can’t praise this seminar enough, a must for all costumers!”
                                                                             – Alex Kavanagh, Costume Designer

Photoshop for Costumers with Erin Seaman

Photoshop for costumers covers everything from how to take a photo properly to how to import your drawings and adding in patterns, hair and text. You will learn about layers, re-sizing, and how to email/print your files properly. Students will leave this class with an enormous amount of skills in both Photoshop and photography to properly prepare you for any digital requests in your career.  Taught by Fashion Magazine’s Photo Editor, Erin Seamon.

Illustration Course for Costumers: October 2015

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